With a new racing strategy, described by senior biomedical engineering major and team captain Nate Schambach as "less drama and more laps," the Johns Hopkins University's Baja team capped off its best season ever with two top 10 finishes in international competitions in April and May.
After achieving an eighth-place finish (its highest ever) at the annual Baja SAE international racing competition in Auburn, Alabama, on April 12, the muddy team of undergraduates returned to Baltimore with a coveted asphalt trophy (made from a core sample taken from the Auburn racing track) ready to take on its next challenge: the Maryland Baja competition in Mechanicsville, Maryland, this past weekend. There, Hopkins placed ninth overall out of 132 teams hailing from nine countries and four continents.
Each year, the Hopkins Baja team designs and builds a single-seat off-road vehicle that can withstand rough terrain. The competition includes dynamic events (such as acceleration, hill climbs, and rock crawls) and a single, four-hour endurance race. The teams use the same 10-horsepower Briggs and Stratton motor. The students design, build, test, promote, and race the vehicle within the limits of the rules, and they are also responsible for generating financial support for their project.